Jonathan Edwards: Give young people the power
Wednesday, 06 March 2013
Wave a medal in front of a young person, give them the opportunity to hear from an Olympic and Paralympic athlete or hold a London 2012 torch and the excitement is uncontrollable. It's a chance for them to relive the memories, be part of the moment and be inspired by sport.
London 2012 captured young minds and brought new opportunities for young people, but this didn't happen overnight. Schools up and down the country have been working tirelessly to inspire young people and build a lasting legacy; encouraging them to try new sports, volunteer at events, help to officiate, lead sports activities or coach their peers.
This great work continues today, but how do we ensure that this captivated audience stays engaged?
How do we ensure that Lord Seb Coe's promise to inspire a generation doesn't fizzle away?
With young people central to that winning 2012 bid, it's only right that we give them the opportunity to influence the Olympic and Paralympic legacy.
This is something that I'm keen to see happen and the reason why I'm supporting the Youth Sport Trust's legacy commitment; Lead your generation. It's all about encouraging young people to develop legacy plans in their schools by co-ordinating sports festivals, activities and events. The commitment builds on the success of the Young Ambassador programme by continuing to empower young people to be role models and make a difference in their school and community.
The Young Ambassador programme was set up following the winning Olympic bid and now there are more than 7,000 Young Ambassadors active in schools and communities, setting an example to others. Since the programme began in 2005, it has gone from strength to strength with one Young Ambassador given the prestigious honour of lighting the cauldron at the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony in recognition for their dedication to motivating young people to take part in sport.
Today, over 300 Young Ambassadors from across the country will attend an event at Wembley Stadium, celebrating their commitment and achievement as young leaders and volunteers.
The day has been designed by members of the Young Ambassador Steering Group and they will lead a workshop introducing Lead your generation, to the Young Ambassadors. It's a chance for the youngsters to share learning with each other and develop ideas that they can take back into their schools and communities and create opportunities for their peers.
This is real legacy in action, created and driven by young people.
Jonathan Edwards is the Sydney 2000 Olympic triple jump champion and world record holder in the event. He recently joined the Youth Sport Trust Board and will be supporting their London 2012 legacy project Lead your generation.